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FG accuses contractor of playing politics with Kaduna/Kano rail project



By Our Reporter

The Federal government has expressed disappointment with the pace of work on the 204 Kaduna/Kano standard gauge railway line awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

The 204km rail corridor consists of 13 large and medium sized bridges, 17 framed bridges, 60 highway overpasses, 12 pedestrian overpasses and three stations.

Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amechi who visited the Zawaciki, Kano construction site at exactly on Saturday morning said that the contractor was playing politics with the project and had not made any meaningful achievement on the job.

The Minister also threatened to expose why CCECC is yet to commence work on the Port Hacourt – Maiduguri narrow gauge railway project despite the fact that it has been mobilized to site.

Addressing journalists in Kano during a site inspection of the project, Amaechi said the Federal Government had done enough to mobilize CCECC but expressed dissatisfaction with it’s level of achievements which according to him is not commensurate to the releases.

The Minister who was accompanied by Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Ministry, Federal Ministry of Transportation; Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC among others, the Minister hinted that CCECC was playing politics with the project by its snail pace of work and threatened to tell Nigerians reasons work is yet to commenced on the Port-Harcourt/Maiduguri narrow gauge after payment has been made.

He said: “Out of 204km length, only 78km has been graded by CCECC. Truth is CCECC is playing politics; they have abandoned construction. The speed of work is extremely slow. I know they will complain of lack of money. I don’t want to say much until Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. If nothing changes, I will tell the country what is happening.”

He described as unacceptable the fact that the contractor was yet to commence work on the Port-Harcourt/Maiduguri rail line, “we have given them some money. They ought to have started work by now but if you go there, nothing is happening. It is an old track. We can’t just give you money and you go to sleep,” he added.

Despite the slow pace of work Amaechi assured Nigerians that when completed, the project would be of high standard, saying, “quality is guaranteed. Quality is not out problem. Our problem is speed.”

Amaechi also visited the Dala Inland Dry Port, Kano and was pleased with the work done, expressing idea optimism that in the next few weeks, the port would be ready to commence operation.

Ahmad Rabiu, Managing Director of the Port told the Minister that all that was left were electrical fittings and minor works for operations to begin at the port.

He said: “It is possible to commence operation here within the next couple of weeks. By the 31st of this month (March), this place will be ready for commissioning. We are very confident,” a pledge affirmed by the chairman of the Port, Mallam Abubakar Bawuro.

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